For over 50 years, Hyatt Hotels & Resorts have aimed to make guests feel more than welcome by providing amenities and services that meet their needs as quickly and directly as possible. With iPad, Hyatt now has the ideal platform to deliver the kind of seamless guest services the company prides itself on — not to mention a powerful, portable business tool for executives in Hyatt’s corporate headquarters.
“We’re all about home away from home,” says John Prusnick, Director of IT Innovation & Strategy for Hyatt Hotels & Resorts. “We’re also all about ‘high touch,’ meaning the interaction with the guest. We’re enabling that with iPad. The combination of the two has been very powerful for us to reach that operational vision.”
From Hyatt’s Chicago headquarters to individual properties throughout the world, iPad is changing the way this hotel empire does business. Features like instant-on power, fast Internet access, and a large, easy-to-use onscreen keyboard make iPad a valuable contributor in meetings — and many Hyatt executives now take iPads on business trips in place of laptops.With iPad, Hyatt managers have an immediate, full-size view of their email, contacts, calendars, financial data, and other business resources wherever they are. “You can write up notes during a meeting, automatically make a PDF, and email it,” says John Wallis, Hyatt Hotels Corporation’s Global Head, Marketing & Brand Strategy. “In our office, iPad has already become part and parcel of the way we do business.”
“I don’t carry my diary anymore,” adds Harmit Singh, Hyatt Hotels Corporation’s Chief Financial Officer. “I don’t carry a calculator. I used to subscribe to all the journals: the Wall Street Journal, the Financial Times. That’s all disappeared. It’s all on iPad.”
Boardroom to Guest Room
With hundreds of iPads already in employees’ hands and thousands more in the works, Hyatt keeps finding new ways to use iPad to streamline operations. Plans are now underway to deploy iPad throughout the organization, enhancing everything from registration to in-room services.
“We’re looking at ways to make things simpler for business travelers,” Singh says. “Making check-in easier after a flight or a long day’s work, making it easy to access the Internet.”
When guests walk into Hyatt’s boutique-style Andaz hotels, they’ll be greeted by hotel staff with iPads. “We can swipe your credit card, capture your signature, and check you into the hotel,” Prusnick explains. “We even have the ability on iPad to encode your key so you can go directly into your room.”
Hyatt is also developing iPad-accessible apps that allow guests to order room service, view hotel amenities, review charges, and check out. “Business travelers are bringing their own iPads on trips,” says Prusnick. “We want to enhance their experience and allow them to manage their stay, leveraging iPad.”
Guest Services Go Mobile
The portability, large screen, and long battery life of iPad make it uniquely suited to the round-the-clock, perpetual-motion world of hospitality. “Imagine a large convention center hotel where there are 1000 people wanting to check out,” says Prusnick. “Now we’re able to empower hotel staff with iPads and allow them to quickly and easily check out guests.”
iPad is also a natural fit for the concierge staff, he notes: “They’re showing guests how to get to restaurants or the theater, and showing them the capabilities of the hotel. If guests want to see what the spa looks like or book a golf tee time, they use iPad.”
And for Hyatt’s sales team, iPad has been transformative. Rather than carrying bulky portfolios, they can show potential clients crisp digital images on iPad, or even display videos of property highlights. “It’s a great tool to sell the hotel,” Wallis says. “Especially in this industry, where you’ve got to show bedrooms, banquet space, all the things we have to offer guests.”
Secure and Simple
For the IT staff, supporting iPad has been a straightforward process requiring no formal user training. Using the same infrastructure and messaging platform Hyatt has already established for iPhone, users simply enter their account information and immediately begin using the device.
“We use Lotus Traveler as the core platform to integrate with our messaging collaboration system, Lotus Notes — and users have full access to our VPN infrastructure,” says Prusnick. “Through the Exchange ActiveSync technology enabled within iPad, we’re able to get instant synchronization of mail, contacts, and calendars without any IT involvement.”
Another non-issue is security. “Hyatt is confident that iPad meets security requirements,” Prusnick states. “It’s fast, it’s secure, and it’s easy to use. iPad has integrated Cisco IPsec, so we can securely authenticate users into the environment.”
Up and Running
Once the devices are activated, users can expand the capabilities of their iPads by downloading business apps such as Keynote, Documents To Go, and Dropbox from the App Store. “With the App Store and the iOS platform, users can find and implement their own solutions without IT intervention,” says Prusnick.
From Hyatt’s headquarters to individual properties throughout the world, iPad is changing the way this company does business. “With iPad, the interaction between the guest and ourselves is now seamless,” Wallis says. “iPad has changed our world forever.”